I've got a few friends going to the Astros / Diamondbacks game in Phoenix tonight, so I'll be watching Roy Oswalt dominate. It looks like the Astros have basically treaded water since I was away; here are a few notes:
Astros Daily is giving up on the Astros playoff chances. I'm inclined to agree. Just because we've come back from the dead the last two years doesn't mean we can do it again, and we would have to leapfrog a TON of teams to get in. I just don't see it.
Craig Biggio, although he did have two home runs in Wednesday's game, is doing his usual 2nd-half collapse thing: .227 / .261 / .470 in the 2nd half
and he still can't hit away from Minute Maid: he has a 610 OPS on the road this year.
Willy Taveras has been getting starts at CF again, but he's still not getting on base (.313 OBP).
Morgan Ensberg is back, and has been starting at 3B with Aubrey Huff moving to RF. Lance should be back tonight, so we'll see what happens.
No big moves over the trading deadline, although we supposedly offered Roy Oswalt to different teams. I'm not sure why we would do that, and I hope we can sign Oswalt to a deal after the 2007 season.
Brad Ausmus really sucks again - since April his month-by-month OPS's are 664, 375, 477, 125.
Roger Clemens is 2-4 with a 2.09 ERA. Par for the course. You should have gone to a different team if you wanted to win, Rocket.
We have a lot of young pitching talent that is almost major league ready. Bucholz. Nieve. Albers. Hirsh. Chris Sampson. Ezequiel Astacio. Behind Roy Oswalt and maybe Brandon Backe, we could throw out an incredibly young, inexpensive, and pretty decent rotation next year. It should be a fierce spring training competition.
Speaking of minor league talent, here are a few updates
J.R. House, Catcher - After hitting .325 at AA, he's hitting .462 in 26 at-bats at AAA. Man, I hope he starts stealing some playing time from Ausmus / Munson next year.
Jason Hirsh - I'm not really sure how Matt Albers was called up instead of Hirsh, who has done nothing except put up a 2.13 ERA in 135 innings at AAA. His walk-to-strikeout ratio isn't great but he's only allowing a .195 batting average and only 5 homers all year! That's good.
Hunter Pence - The best hitting prospect in the organization has done well at AA, with a .291 / .354 / .563 line and 24 HR's in 416 AB's. He's still looking like a late 2007 callup at earliest though.
Jallen Peguero - I haven't heard of him before, but he's got a 0.70 ERA and 48 K's in only 38.2 IP at AA. Good relief prospect.
Matt Albers - He's not ready yet - the ERA is nice (2.17) but the BB/K ratio isn't great (47/95) and he's given up a lot of unearned runs. Needs more time.
Luke Scott and Jason Lane are back up; Taylor Bucholz is down. Bucholz just can't seem to stay away from the big inning - his secondary numbers are still ok. Luke Scott is swinging a hot bat and I still believe in Jason Lane, but he is 29 years old.